Unfamiliar Sake Terms: Origarami

Greetings Sake Lovers

Welcome to another article that explains tricky terms found on sake labels. These are terms that you may often come across while tasting with friends but are too embarrassed to ask about. Previous articles have covered terms like genshu, nigorizake, kimoto,etc.

In this article we look at the term origarami.

What is Origarami?

The appearance of sake labeled with the word origarami might offer a clue about the meaning behind this term. Served in a clear vessel, you will see that it is slightly white in color. This is the clue. This opaque appearance is linked to the way the sake is produced.


Freshly fermented sake is called the moromi. It is not yet the clear liquid we are used to seeing our glass. In fact it is more akin to porridge. Leftover solid components from the rice and other ingredients called kasu (lees) are what give it this appearance. To recap, the key ingredients of the sake fermentation are steamed rice, koji (malted rice) and water. After fermentation, the kasu is filtered from the moromi using a fine cloth and returned to the tank. Even after filtering, the sake is not completely clear. Some particles are so small they get through the filter. These are called ori. Ori is made up of a mixture of rice and yeast.

What is Origarami

One of the purposes of returning sake to the tank is to allow time for the ori to sink to the bottom of the tank where it can be extracted. This process is called oribiki. Chemical agents can be added to make the ori clump together so it becomes heavy and sinks much faster. Origarami is sake that is packaged and shipped off without the extracting the ori. It has a slight cloudy, opaque appearance. As it often appears slightly hazy, it is often referred to as kasumizake Japanese (literally, hazy sake).

The Characteristics and Appeal of Origaramizake

The defining characteristic of origarami is the strong rice-forward flavour which is a lot stronger than standard sake.

Difference Between Origaramizake and Nigorizake

There is another style of sake that contains leftover rice and yeast called nigorizake. This too can be opaque and cloudy in appearance which is why in English it is often labelled: cloudy sake. Nigorizake is sake that was filtered through a coarser cloth to allow some of the solids though. The opaqueness and density of solids depends on the coarseness of the cloth. Apart from the way each is made, the biggest difference between origarami and nigorizake is the size of the leftover solids. The latter tends to have larger particles of sediment which is why it is often much more opaque in appearance. As both contain leftover rice, yeast and koji (malted rice), both are quite strong tasting, but origarami tends to be a little less strong, so it may be best to try this first.

Check out this article for more information about nigorizake.

KURAND’s lineup of over 100 different types of sake often includes a selection of nigorizake and sometimes even the odd origarami (depending on stock). Why not pop by and give them a try.

We look forward to welcoming you soon.